Thoughts, Stories, Action Newsletter: Ponder new ideas, learn through stories, then walk the walk.

What If Goals Were Never Meant to Be Accomplished?

September 27, 2020
Jason Gutierrez


“I don’t think I’ve ever hit 5% of the goals I’ve set, they’re just directions that tend to lead me to new interesting places.” - Nat Eliason


The other day on Twitter Nat Eliason posted:

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…and I’ll be damned if that wasn’t the most honest advice I’ve ever read on the internet.

This was something I mentioned the other day in a recently published article on Medium, but the premise was so intriguing to me that I thought it deserved its own expansion.

Not even 5% of the goals that Nat sets he meets. Obviously, this number is off the cuff and may or may not be a true resemblance of his actual goal-setting, but still, this point really struck a chord with me.

I set goals all the time. In fact, at the beginning of the year, I wrote down a handful of goals on my whiteboard with every intention of meeting them.

Some of them I’ve already met. Others, I’m on track. But others still, I’m way off.

For example, let’s take the one you see there under “projects” about starting a sleep-related e-commerce store. The thought was that I already have a wildly successful post on Medium that you may or may not have read called The 50/30/10/10 Rule for How to Wake Up Earlier and Work on Your Dream.

I figured, “Hey, if so many people resonated with that article, I’d probably kill it if I made some sort of sleep-related e-commerce store and sold useful items that helped people get better sleep.”

At least that was the goal.

But then, Covid-19 hit and everyone’s world flipped upside down. While I had every intention of starting a sleep-related e-commerce store, I eventually went all-in on an online coffee shop with my roommate.

Now, I have literally no motive to ever accomplish that sleep e-commerce store goal I set for myself.

The goal was more or less just a direction for me to begin with. The actual result was wildly different.

I mean, it really doesn’t get any different than sleep vs. a chemical that solely exists to counteract it (caffeine).

But c’est la vie.

This is hardly a one-time occurrence in my life. It always seems to be that most amazing opportunities reveal themselves on the way to my initial destination.

If I’m being honest, I probably meet LESS THAN 5% of the initial goals I set for myself, which ends up being even worse than Nat. But that’s fine. Because somewhere along the way I end up finding something way better.


Set a goal and get after it. Even if you never end up accomplishing it, enjoy wherever you end up as a result of the process.



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